This book looks at concepts of justice from points of view of various religious and cultural traditions (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Cosmopolitanism, Tribal Cultures) and different methodological perspectives (historical, theological, philosophical, sociological). One common thread in these essays is the reflection on ethics universally and reference to the basic values of the Indian constitution. People from all categories were included in the dialogue process on justice in order to avoid any risk of unintentionally missing out people belonging to certain categories. This volume attempts to express the opinions of people whose voices were not very prominent in theoretical debates on justice and its practical implications. Their perspectives on justice are contrasted with mainstream conceptions of justice, whose problematic representativeness for India today is thereby interpreted. Both abstract universalism and relativism lack a common point of reference to assess relevance and adequacy of a given conception of justice. Neither unaffected universalism nor relativism defined by traditional norms turns is sustainable.
The contributors offer a concept of 'internal universalism' as an alternative to unaffected universalism. Combining various forms and stages of 'reflective equilibrium' as conceived by John Rawls, this framework provides us with the necessary reference point to assess the adequacy as proposed in this book and engage in a comprehensive dialogue on questions of justice.
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Author Biography - Rajeev Bhargava
Rajeev Bhargava was Professor of political theory and Indian political thought and the Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Delhi, and is a prominent scholar of multi-culturalism and secularism in nonwestern societies. He has held fellowships in the Harvard University Program in Ethics and the Professions at the British Academy. Professor Bhargava is the Editor of Secularism and its Critics (1998) and Civil Society, Public Sphere and Citizenship: Dialogues and Perceptions (2005), and co-editor of Multiculturalism, Liberalism and Democracy (1990) and Transforming India (2000). He is the author of Individualism in Social Science (1992). At present, he is the Director of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India. Michael Dusche holds a PhD in Philosophy and International Relations from the University of Frankfurt am Main. His thesis is published as Der Philosoph als Mediator (The Philosopher as a Mediator) (Vienna: Passagen Verlag, 2000). From 2000 to 2005, Dusche held the position of a senior assistant professor and DAAD lecturer at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. From 2005 to 2009 he held research positions at the University of Erfurt, Germany and F.H. Jena, Germany. Since June 2009, he has been a fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Helmut Reifeld is at present the Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in India. Formerly a research fellow with the German Historical Institute, London, and Bayreuth University, Germany, his co edited works include Pluralism and Equality and Women in Panchayati Raj.